Sunday, February 29, 2004

Mom's back from Thailand We had to set the alarms for this one! 6am her plane was scheduled to arrive. So, we got up at 5, got ready and left. She was early ... darn! She had already picked up her luggage and was waiting outside. I really like to meet her inside at the gate. Especially when she's been on a long trip, and this one was a full month. First she spent 2 weeks touring around Myanmar (aka Burma) - then she was on a dive boat The Ocean Rover off the coast of Thailand. Think we'll ever get her to settle down enough to travel around this country?! Actually, it was her idea years ago to get an RV and live/travel in it. We thought it was a good idea. She's still planning to get a Roadtrek someday and join us. She was surprisingly alert and chipper for 6am ... of course I guess it was more like 6pm (tomorrow) for her - she had two Sundays due to the International date line. She said she was ready for happy hour! I believe her flight started in Thailand, probably stopped in Singapore, Taiwan, Guam, Los Angeles, then Fort Lauderdale. Over 30 hours of travel. Mom - if you read this - tell me if I got it anywhere near right. Later note: she said I was close, it was 35 hours and she didn't stop in Guam. You can read her notes of the trip on her weblog, Marilyns Planet.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

How we spend a Friday night! Well, it certainly isn't very glamorous, but any time we drive our home down the road it's exciting for us - even if it's just to take it to the dumping station. We are both getting antsy for truly getting on the road. Soon, soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

One step closer to hitting the road. So, we have our new car (the Honda CRV) that is good for towing - now we have to get the tow package installed. It's actually quite involved. There is a hitch/receiver on the back of the RV. Then most of the apparatus gets installed on the Honda. The apparatus gets bolted on to the front end and then electrical wiring connects the brake lights from the RV thru to the Honda. Parts and Labor = $1500. The Honda is now officially a 'Toad'. That's what we RVers call a 'towed vehicle'! We don't have any photos of it being towed because the weather was really nasty. Later. Our first RV mishap Well, besides the hole in the kayak (see post for Feb 3) ... that was 'RV related'. This one is truly an RV mishap. You know how I told you the weather was really nasty? Well, it is true that an awning is like a sail and a gust of wind at just the right angle will pick it up and send it flying. Yes, we know it should be taken down when it gets stormy, and that's exactly what Jim was doing when it ripped right away from him and went sailing over the roof of the RV. Pretty scary, but he's fine. There goes another $1,000. It ripped the brackets right off the coach.

Monday, February 23, 2004

It's good to be a computer hero! We've both been in the computer field since the early 80s and our friends all know who to call when they're in a computer jam! So, today my oldest friend (in terms of years known, not age) was in Fort Lauderdale just for a couple days on business - I'm sure he had no intention of taking time for social calls ... but, while staying with his Dad and working on his computer he encountered some drastic problems. So, who does he call?? The Computer Heroes! And I get to see my dear friend Lanz! Cool. Of course he had to get new directions because we weren't in the same place as last he saw us. Are ya gonna eat that?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

We're back at Donna's Backyard RV park now, and it feels like home! So quiet and peaceful. I'm spending all day sitting at the computer doing my web work (and writing on the Blog of course). Every hour or so, I take a break and go outside to throw a ball for Odie. Just throwing it ... I have no expectation of him bringing it back! But, he loves to run and it gets me to stand up and stretch. Very important when you sit at a computer all day long. If you look real closely at this photo, you'll see a black blob (that's Odie) right outside the RV door. His nose is on the ground by a yellow ball and his tail is up in the air. I got COLD last night. The thermometer said 50 degrees outside when we got up this morning! Yeah, I know, anyone from up north reading this is saying "That's not Cold!" But, to us it is. I'm so glad our heater works good - we're a nice, toasty 70 degrees inside. I don't think I have any desire to be up north during the winter. So, wherever we go this summer, we need to be back here or maybe Baja next winter.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Hey! We're still at Yacht Haven. We were able to stay a couple more days as long as we moved to another site ... just 2 doors down. Check out time is noon and check in time is 1pm. There are RVs lined up at 11:30 waiting to see if any sites open up. Amazing. We were thrilled to stay a couple more days because we could use the Hot Tub! That's the one thing about the house that we've missed. And here is just the tiniest of Videos, showing the New River side: Yacht Haven.MPG Friday night our friend Glenn was in town and came to visit. Impromptu parties can be the most fun! And Saturday was Valentines Day. Check out these gorgeous roses Jim got for me. Isn't he sweet? And he even found sugar-free chocolates that were pretty good!

Saturday, February 14, 2004

A Fort Lauderdale Experience Fort Lauderdale's tag line is "The Venice of America" because there are so many waterways. And, of course, waterfront property is the most valuable. It's a great place to have a little boat and just wander around. We've spent hours paddling our kayaks around the rivers and canals and had a great time. Once, during my 35 years in Fort Lauderdale, I lived right on the New River (the main East/West waterway) and twice a day the tourist boat called "The Jungle Queen" would pass by and the passengers would all shout "Hello There". If you ever visit Fort Lauderdale, I highly recommend the Jungle Queen cruise as an enjoyable way to see the waterways. You almost have to live on the water, or get on a boat to experience the waterways, so, what a treat for there to be an RV park right on New River! It's called "Yacht Haven" and we're here for just one night. It's actually an RV park AND a yacht marina, so people here are living on their boats too. Cool. Here's our site:

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Full Moon from Donna's Backyard RV Park! I didn't get around to posting these great photos that Jim took at full moon last week. And, here's our very own full moon that we carry around with us all the time. It really is cool when we stop at a place after dark and raise the dish. The other-worldly blue light makes it look like moonrise on a distant planet! Donna's Backyard 'Full-Service' RV Park! I still don't really know what an 'amp' is, but I do know that our motorhome likes to have 30 of them, and a normal house outlet only has 15. With a few parts and some know-how, we now have 30 amp here. Now, the only thing missing is sewer hookup, but Markham Park is less than 5 minutes away and they have a 'dump-station' that we can use for $5. So, about every 5 days, we have to unhook and drive over there to 'take care of business'. It's a bit of a hassle, but, I actually like being forced to move the motorhome frequently. It's not good to get accustomed to it as a stationary thing ... it's meant to move! This keeps us in practice.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Technology never fails to amaze! Remember futuristic movies ... or exhibits at Epcot where people communicated with video phones. They could talk with and see each other anywhere in the world. You know that was some pretty expensive equipment to make it all work tho. Well, did you know that the computer on your desk is a video phone? Just playing around with a friend in Arizona ... we both have Windows XP on our computers, so we've been using Windows messenger occasionally to 'chat' - especially since her cell phone isn't working right now. Well, the other day, she decided to click on the 'start a voice conversation' and we were able to talk just like we were on the phone. Today, she clicked on 'start a video and voice conversation' (we both have microphones and video cameras hooked up to our computers). Unbelievable! It actually worked. So what do we say to each other? "Wow, this is soo cooool!"

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Here we go ... to our first trade show representing Coach Connect. We left Fort Lauderdale Tuesday afternoon and made one stop at a client's on the way. They say they're mad at us for leaving them (in April), but they sure love what we're doing. Everyone came out and took a little tour of the RV, Odie figured they were just visiting him! The trade show we were going to was a meeting of RV Park owner's from Best Holiday Trav-L-Parks conference. It was held at a hotel in Kissimmee, so we drove up and simply dry-camped in the parking lot. Today, Jim and I set up all our equipment and gave a presentation on what WiFi is all about and why the parks should sign up with Coach Connect to get it. We were very well received and it was a nice group of people. We look forward to doing many more. We were even able to demonstrate logging on to the Internet thru Coach Connect's login screen because we moved the RV around to the front of the hotel (near the meeting room) and set up our 'mobile WiFi Hotspot'. SOO COOOL. All the other presenters asked to use our equipment, and they could go to various websites to point stuff out as well! Heroes again!

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Chris' Confession ... or Lessons we Learn Chalk up another 'Lesson in RVing'. I wonder how many there are under the category of 'Understanding your Electrical System'? We've already learned to be very careful never to plug in to an outlet that has 'reverse polarity' - we have a little tester that we always plug into an outlet before plugging the RV in. We've also learned that you can't run the air conditioner and the microwave at the same time when you only have 15 amp household current. RV parks all provide 30 amp connections (the big RV's even use 50 amp), but when you're plugged in at someone's house, you probably only have 15 amp. When we first bought the RV we had it parked in our driveway and plugged into the house. We ran the AC, but if we ever tried to turn on the microwave, it immediately threw a breaker. One day, the AC stopped working and we ended up with a $400 repair bill for the electrical panel - we were probably lucky that we didn't have a fire. So, no AC when plugged into 15 amp. Wellllll .... I was getting a bit sweaty yesterday morning when I had to get dressed and put on makeup etc. I thought, if I make sure everything else is turned off ... I could have some air conditioning for just a few minutes. I turned it on and it worked fine - I set the fan to low. (Jim was out diving or he would have stopped me from doing this!) 20 minutes later I was dressed and ready to go and I turned the AC off. Then I heard the beep, beep, beep of the computer's UPS indicating that the power was off. Apparently, I had tripped a breaker switch in Donna's house, because nothing I did in the RV made a difference. My lessons have to be very explicit I guess ... it's not enough just to say 'The AC shouldn't be operated when plugged in to 15 amp service.' I need it to say 'The AC cannot be operated, even for only a few minutes, when plugged into 15 amp service.' Ok, Ok, I think I got it now. I wanted to keep electricity on if only to power the electronics for the Satellite dish - so I cranked up the generator. Another lesson we've learned is that it is a good thing to run the generator regularly, so I thought this was a fine solution - at least until everyone was back home and we could reset stuff. OK - so, here's the sad part ... and the new lesson learned. Since Jim only needed one kayak to go diving, he left the other one (mine) on the ground propped up next to the RV. Unfortunately, it was right by the exhaust pipe of the generator. Here's the result: Lesson: the generator exhaust is HOT! HOT! HOT! Make sure the area is clear before turning it on.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Our 'Yak carrier! Jim did it all himself ... instead of going to a dealer and asking for racks to be mounted on the car, he went to Bass Outdoor World (what a sacrifice! only his favorite store!) and bought a kit. He mounted the racks on the car and then tried out putting the kayaks on. Here's the result: So, we're one step further in getting ready to go. The only thing left is to get a tow package installed on the RV and the Honda.